Atorvastatin for high cholesterol
This leaflet is for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information may differ from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information usually relates to adults. Read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.
Name of medicine
Brand name: Lipitor
Why is it important for my child to take Atorvastatin?
Taking atorvastatin reduces the amount of cholesterol your child’s liver makes. This lowers the risk of your child getting heart disease in later life.
What is Atorvastatin available as?
Tablets: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg
When should I give Atorvastatin
Atorvastatin is usually given once each day. This can be in the morning or the evening.
Give it at about the same time each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.
How much should I give?
Your doctor will work out the amount of Atorvastatin (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.
Your doctor may suggest that your child starts with a low dose. They may then increase the dose as your child gets used to the medicine and depending on how they respond to it. Your doctor will explain what to do. If you are not sure how much to give, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
The dose may be increased after 4 weeks.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.
How should I give Atorvastatin?
- Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, squash or juice. Your child should not chew the tablets.
- You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey, or mashed potato. Make sure your child swallows it straight away, without chewing.
Your child should not have grapefruit or grapefruit juice while they are taking Atorvastatin, as they can make the concentration of Atorvastatin in the blood too high and cause side-effects.
When should the medicine start working?
The medicine will start working straight away, although you will not see any difference in your child.
What if my child is sick (vomits)?
- If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of Atorvastatin, give them the same dose again.
- If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of Atorvastatin, do not give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.
If your child is sick again, seek advice from your family doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved.
What if I forget to give it?
If you usually give it once a day in the morning: Give the missed dose when you remember during the day, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the next dose is due.
If you usually give it once a day in the evening: If you remember before bedtime, give the missed dose. You do not need to wake a sleeping child to give a missed dose. You can give the missed dose in the morning, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the evening dose is due.
What if I give too much?
You are unlikely to cause harm if you give an extra dose of Atorvastatin by mistake. If you are concerned that you may have given too much, contact your doctor or local NHS services (details at end of leaflet). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.
Are there any possible side effects?
We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side effects).
Side effects you must do something about
Rarely, Atorvastatin can cause inflamed (swollen) muscles. If your child develops pains or weakness in their muscles (arms or legs), or their muscles are tender to touch, contact your doctor straight away
Very rarely, Atorvastatin can cause breathing problems. If your child develops a cough that doesn’t go away or becomes short of breath, please seek advice from your doctor.
If your child gets a yellowish tinge to the skin or whites of the eyes, contact your doctor straight away, as there may be a problem with your child’s liver.
Other side-effects you need to know about
If your child develops a rash within the first 2 weeks after starting Atorvastatin, please contact your child’s doctor as they may be more sensitive than usual to Atorvastatin.
Your child may develop itchiness or a mild skin rash – try applying a moisturising cream or itch relief cream. If this doesn’t help, contact your doctor, in case your child is allergic to Atorvastatin.
Your child may be more tired than usual or have sleep disturbances such as difficulty getting to sleep. You may also notice changes in their mood (more sad than normal) or memory (they become forgetful). If this is a problem contact your doctor.
Your child’s hair may become thinner and some may fall out. It should grow back when the medicine is stopped. Discuss this with your doctor at your next visit.
If your child complains of an aching chest or pain in their back, contact your doctor as there may be a problem with their pancreas, but this is very rare.
Your child may get stomach ache or feel sick (nausea) and they may get constipated (have difficulty doing a poo) or have diarrhoea. They may also have a headache or feel dizzy. If you are worried, or these side effects are still a problem after 2 weeks contact your doctor.
Your child’s appetite may be affected – they may feel more or less hungry than usual. Tell your doctor if your child gains or loses a lot of weight.
There may sometimes be other side effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side effects to a UK safety scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard
Can other medicines be given at the same time as Atorvastatin?
- You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol, unless your doctor has told you not to.
- Atorvastatin should not be taken with some medicines. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any other medicines your child is taking before giving Atorvastatin.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal and complementary medicines.
Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?
- Your child should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice as this may increase the amount of Atorvastatin in the body, which could be harmful.
General advice about medicines
- Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
- Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
- If you think someone else may have taken the medicine, contact a doctor straight away.
- Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
- Make sure that the medicines you have at home have not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.
- If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.
Where should I keep this medicine?
- Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight.
- It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
- Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
- Keep the medicine in the container it came in.
Who to contact for more information?
Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about Atorvastatin and about other medicines used to treat high cholesterol.
Version . © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild, all rights reserved. Review by November 2015.
The primary source for the information in this leaflet is the British National Formulary for Children. For details on any other sources used for this leaflet, please contact us through our website, www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk.
We take great care to make sure that the information in this leaflet is correct and up-to-date. However, medicines can be used in different ways for different patients. It is important that you ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about something. This leaflet is about the use of these medicines in the UK, and may not apply to other countries. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG), WellChild and the contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information, omissions of information, or any actions that may be taken as a consequence of reading this leaflet.